Good around town, but lacking shove anywhere else

What’s new?

Vauxhall’s new mini-monocab, as the company likes to brand it, has been given a fuel-efficient 1.0-litre engine. The three-cylinder Suzuki unit develops 65bhp at 6000rpm and Vauxhall claims an economy figure of 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions below 120g/km.

What’s it like?

The body and interior form an attractive package, with a sense of spaciousness and plenty of headroom in the front seats, though the rear bench is not for six-footers, whether adults or well-nourished children.

The gearshift has an unusually short, crisp throw for a car in this sector, which promotes a spirited press-on style of driving at odds with the gruff 1.0-litre engine. It’s not a patch on the delightfully free-spinning three-cylinder unit in the Toyota Aygo.

The Agila’s main problem is that it has the engine of a city car, but the one-tonne kerb weight of mini-MPV. It failed to reach 60mph while accelerating up a gently inclined slip road onto the M25, and therefore was unable to match the speed of the traffic it was joining. Any overtaking on the motorway required the presence of a large van immediately ahead for judicious slipstreaming.

In town, progress was on a much higher level. The Agila rides pleasingly on London’s abysmally surfaced roads and copes well with speed bumps, considering its shortish wheelbase. Even in town, however, its excess weight deprives it of that feeling of buzzing nimbleness that defines a true town car.

Should I buy one?

The 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine has significantly more power (86bhp), and if you are venturing outside the metropolitan area, this is the unit to choose. The 1.0-litre Agila is okay for taking the family to the shops and back, but the turbodiesel should arguably provide equivalent economy with increased driveability.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
hikari 10 March 2008

Re: Vauxhall Agila 1.0i Club

Vauxhall just do not get it. One tonne of car and a gutless one litre engine show how shamefully behind the times Vauxhall is. Reduce the mass to 650kg then you will stop the embarrassment.